Google launches Snapchat-style Stories for content publishers

14th Feb 2018
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AMP Stories as they are called will allow publishers to create visually-rich, vertical-format stories to drive content discovery on mobile.

There is no dearth of ‘inspiration’ in the world of tech. Stories, a format pioneered by Snapchat, has literally been cloned by the who’s who of social media — Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp. Now, Google too wants a slice of these mobile-friendly Stories.

Google has rolled out ‘AMP Stories’ for content publishers, which allows them to use images, videos, graphics and text to throw up vertical, swipeable search results on mobile. The search giant announced on its developers’ blog that the new feature has been piloted with leading content publishers viz. Condé Nast, Vox Media, Time Warner, Meredith Corp, Mashable, The Washington Post and more.

Image: Google

Immersive content has become the bone of contention on digital platforms. Given the reducing attention span of users and the explosion in content availability, it is imperative for publishers to indulge in eyeball-grabbing offerings. Google says AMP Stories is a platform to do just that.

Rudy Galfi, Product Manager for AMP at Google, said, “AMP Stories provide content publishers with a mobile-focused format for delivering news and information as visually rich, tap-through stories. On mobile devices, users browse lots of articles, but engage with few in-depth. Images, videos and graphics help publishers to get their readers' attention as quickly as possible and keep them engaged through immersive and easily consumable visual information.”

The feature has been developed in consultation and collaboration with these top content publishers. Galfi said, “Publishers involved in the early development of the AMP stories format have brought together their reporters, illustrators, designers, producers, and video editors to creatively use this format and experiment with novel ways to tell immersive stories for a diverse set of content categories.”

Image: Google

Google will soon release the feature to other publishers. At present, AMP Stories do not support advertising, which could be a turn off for some publishers looking to monetise every piece of content they create. But, Google says ads will soon be supported.

That makes it similar to Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories. But, AMP Stories would be meaningful, professionally developed content as opposed to Snapchat’s and Instagram’s user-generated content.

Making AMP feature-rich

AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, are, essentially, optimised web pages displayed on smartphones via Google search results. These load fast, as the name suggests, and are tailored for low-data networks.

While AMP surely enhances consumption and drives traffic, it has often been criticised for diluting the reader/viewer experience. Often times, images, graphics and videos do not load properly on AMP pages. Mobile advertisers have indicated that they lose per page ad revenues as a result of this.

AMP Stories builds on the existing AMP code. Like any web page, publishers can host an AMP story HTML page on their site and link to it from any other part of the site to drive discovery. Google has also released a tutorial on how to create AMP Stories.

“AMP Stories aim to make the production of stories as easy as possible from a technical perspective. The format comes with preset but flexible layout templates, standardised UI controls, and components for sharing and adding follow-on content,” it said.

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